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GEOS 100 – Fundamentals of Geology


Course Syllabus (link to pdf)

Course Description: Geology is the scientific study of the Earth system at various scales of time and space. The Earth is a constantly changing body; while many of these changes take place on time scales that are too long for most people to recognize, they nonetheless have a significant impact on our everyday lives. In this course, students will explore Earth’s materials, the dynamic processes through which these materials are cycled, and the interaction of Earth’s geological and biological systems. Specific topics this course will address include plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes, weathering, rivers and groundwater, glaciers, topographic and geologic maps, and Earth history.

Course Learning Outcomes: Boise State’s Foundational Studies Program provides undergraduates with a broad-based education that spans the entire university experience. GEOS 100: Fundamentals of Geology satisfies four credits of the Foundational Studies Program’s Disciplinary Lens – Natural, Physical, and Applied Science (DL-N) requirement. It supports the following University Learning Outcome, along with a variety of other course-specific goals:

8) Apply knowledge and the methods characteristic of scientific inquiry to think critically about and solve theoretical and practical problems about physical structures and processes.

GEOS 100: Fundamentals of Geology is designed help students understand the processes shaping the physical world around them, through the perspective of a geologist. This course helps to achieve the goals of the Foundational Studies Program by focusing on the following course learning outcomes. After successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • 1) develop and articulate a question based on relevant geologic observations, 2) describe parallel, testable hypotheses that explain your observations, 3) design a simple experiment to test each hypothesis, and 4) evaluate the results of the experiment to decide which hypotheses are supported by the data.
  • clearly differentiate between observation and interpretation of geologic data, and summarize and relate observations in order to support an interpretation.
  • clearly and accurately apply scientific terms and principles to construct organized and concise written, oral, and graphical communication about important ideas such as plate tectonic theory, the rock cycle and classification of Earth materials, geologic time, mountain building and geologic structures, and surficial processes.
  • describe the primary ways in which humans depend on Earth materials and are affected by geologic processes, and explain how scientific understanding about these processes has a direct impact on societal wellbeing.
  • describe the physical processes that shape the Earth’s surface today, and explain how reading the rock record can help us to identify such processes that have operated in the past.